Monday, February 11, 2013

Mentally Ill: Kicking the Habit

“The smoking rate for American adults with mental illness is 70 percent higher than for those without such problems, U.S. health officials reported…” I began smoking at a very early age. Most everyone in my family smoked as I knew before we moved to Colorado. Though I knew smoking was bad as I was a teenager, I managed to quit for a while, but returned to smoking when I joined the armed forces. Again I quit smoking after my discharge, but due to my ignorance and drug usage, began smoking again and to no avail have I been able to totally quit. Stress seems to be the reason I can’t quit, finding some sort of quietness about me when I am feeling stressed, becoming a bit calmer as my thoughts don’t race as much thereafter smoking a cigarette or two. “Overall, 36 percent of adults diagnosed with a mental health issue smoke, compared to 21 percent among the general population. Among adults with mental illness, cigarette smoking rates are especially high among younger adults and people living in poverty or with lower levels of education.” Though I am not poverty stricken with a fair and ongoing education which includes being at work, I have not been able to put a solid hold on my smoking, even though I do not drink or use drugs any longer. I do admit to myself that being mentally disabled has it setbacks and using tobacco does alleviate some of the distressful feelings such as boredom and worry not to mention the certain fears I live with, such as diabetes, and being overweight, tobacco may keep me from being the stronger in caring about my health, yet I feel it comforts me. When I want to get away from the hurried thoughts or just relax, I smoke a cigarette. Even when I am surrounded by others who may not smoke, I excuse myself just so I can feel comfortable in certain social situations. I have since given it an effort in quitting the tobacco habit; by buying gum, lessening the amount I smoke, exercising my mind and to date I have come from a pack and a half a day habit to a pack a day.
Help is necessary to quit such an overwhelming habit, a person can not readily quit on his own. There are throughout the United States institutions which have been able to lend a helping hand and mental health is now getting involved in helping consumers who smoke or use tobacco products overcome their habit of tobacco use in many Mental Health Centers.  “To address the issue, SAMHSA has partnered with the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center to develop ways that mental health facilities and organizations can help patients stop smoking. The CDC is also involved in efforts to help people with mental illness quit smoking.”
Written by Donald S
February 10, 2013

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